At Dawn Of Opioid Crisis, Johnson & Johnson Genetically Created ‘Supper Poppy’ That Was Rich In Opiates
The Washington Post takes a look at Johnson & Johnson's operations in Tasmania, which produced genetically modified "supper poppy" plants. In other public health news: e-cigarettes, mental health services, Alzheimer's treatments, and dementia.
The Washington Post:
Johnson & Johnson Companies Used A Super Poppy To Make Narcotics For Popular Opioid Pills
Johnson & Johnson, a company more widely known for baby powder and Band-Aids, became a major supplier of narcotic raw materials to the U.S. thanks to a Tasmanian breed of poppies. (Whoriskey, 3/26)
The New York Times:
The World Pushes Back Against E-Cigarettes And Juul
In January 2019, the chairman of Altria, Howard A. Willard III, flew to Silicon Valley to speak to senior executives of Juul Labs, fresh off signing a deal for the tobacco giant to pay nearly $13 billion for a 35 percent stake in the popular e-cigarette company. With public fury growing over Juul’s contribution to the epidemic of teenage vaping, he laid out his vision for the company to continue to thrive. “I believe that in five years, 50 percent of Juul’s revenue will be international,” Mr. Willard told the 200 executives gathered at the Four Seasons in East Palo Alto. (Kaplan, Jacobs and Sang-Hun, 3/30)
How Georgia Tech Is Working To Improve Mental Health Services
Georgia Tech, more so than any state school in recent years, has faced public pressure and scrutiny to better help students struggling with such issues. Two students died near the end of the fall 2018 semester from apparent suicides. The family of Scout Schultz, a Georgia Tech student shot and killed by a campus police officer in 2017, filed a wrongful death lawsuit in September against the school. (Stirgus, 3/31)
Can This Alzheimer's Trial Design More Cleanly Test The Amyloid Hypothesis?
The fate of aducanumab, a potential Alzheimer’s treatment from Biogen, is widely seen as the last hope for an aging idea: that targeting toxic brain plaques can arrest the progress of the disease. But there’s a similar, less-discussed Alzheimer’s treatment working through a pivotal trial. And its outcome, positive or negative, could shift the yearslong debate over how best to target Alzheimer’s. (Garde, Robbins and Feuerstein, 3/30)
The Washington Post:
Early-Onset Dementia In Her Middle-Aged Husband Was Uncurable — And Almost Unbearable.
In summer 2014, when he was 54, Sacramento artist David Wetzl was exhibiting the behaviors of an elderly man with Alzheimer’s. “I have a bad brain,” he told everyone repeatedly, using a simple phrase to explain his diagnosis to the world. Two years before that, his wife, Diana Daniels, had asked for an MRI because she was suspicious that things weren’t right and fearful when he couldn’t remember the word “shoelaces.” The scan showed with horrific clarity how sections of his brain had shriveled. (Mailman, 3/29)